Mobile applications are the future. Considering the fact that humans spend over 90% of their smartphone time on apps, a lot of companies today are opting for a mobile-first approach to ensure their customers get the best digital experience.
For those of you who don't know, the mobile app industry is anticipated to generate a revenue of over $189 by the year 2020. From simple tools like calculators and alarm clocks to productivity and office suits, applications are being developed for all purposes and requirements in life.
And that’s exactly why companies are looking out for mobile app developers more than ever today. Besides, they are also in demand today because of the rise of the on-demand economy as well, which demands the development of a mobile application for all of its services, deliverables, and infrastructure.
So, if you intend to launch a product in the coming year and are looking for efficient platforms to fast-track your development process, you have two solid platforms - React Native and Flutter. Today, we will go in-depth in understanding what Flutter and React Native are and what they would mean for tech businesses. We will assess the pros and cons of each and we will leave it to open interpretation. In the end, you decide what is best for your business needs.
Let’s get Started...
Flutter and React Native
For the uninitiated, Flutter is a software development kit that allows developers to build high-performing and stable applications for the web, iOS, and Android all from one single codebase.
Apart from their unique origin stories, both Flutter and React Native have lots of differences in terms of functionalities, performance, usability and more. Let’s break down each.
Flutter Vs. React Native: UI Components
When developing Omni-platform apps, it is crucial to have support for the native component and
without this, an app won’t feel like a native app. So, a programming language must offer an API to access native modules without any struggle.
Flutter is loaded with features like:
- User interface rendering components
- API access and more
These features eliminate the requirement of third party libraries to build your app. With Flutter, you will have everything you need to build your mobile application. With widgets to design materials and a feature to render user interface on both Android and iOS, Flutter is a complete package.
Unlike Flutter, React Native only offers device-access APIs and user interface rendering. To access native modules, React Native has to rely on 3rd party libraries. This dependency arrives as a shortcoming in certain development scenarios.
Flutter Vs. React Native: Development Time & Learning Curve
Flutter is powered by Dart, a not-so-popular programming language. This makes it difficult for developers to code their apps as the complexity of their apps increases. This also means that they have to learn new Flutter techniques and concepts to keep up with the development time. But that’s not without acknowledging the fact that it’s very easy to get started with Flutter’s demo app.
Flutter Vs. React Native: Stability
While the Alpha version of Flutter made it unsuitable for the deployment of large projects, the Beta 2 version arrived with improvements and rich features. With the developer community also growing strong, Flutter will only evolve to become more stable for deployment soon.
Backed by an already popular and established framework, React Native is reliable. Despite the dependency on 3rd party tools, React Native still is the more stable of the two.
Flutter Vs. React Native: Setup and Configuration
It is easier to get started with Flutter than React Native. Flutter’s guide has all the necessary information a developer would need to setup IDE and platform for Android and iOS. Flutter Doctor is another interesting feature that guides developers through the setup. The feature checks the tools that are installed on the local computer and what other tools need to be configured to get started. There are also separate pages for editors configuration and macOS installation.
Unlike Flutter, React Native assumes for some reason that you have all the setup you need to develop a mobile application. The documentation provided jumps directly to getting started with a new project. Though there is little information offered about the Xcode Command Line Tools, it isn’t enough to get started.
Flutter Vs. React Native: Community Support
The developer community is one of the crucial factors to consider before joining a bandwagon. It is only through this community that new features are discovered, insights are shared, learning curves are minimized and more.
Flutter shot to fame in 2017 when it was promoted at Google’s I/O Conference. Ever since then, the Flutter community has been growing dynamically. There are frequent meetups, discussions, conferences, and events happening both online and offline. However, there are a lot of common issues yet remained unsolved.
React Native has an edge when it comes to community support. It is older than Flutter (established in 2015) and there are tons of events and meetups happening across the world. GitHub has a React Native developer community and offline events are also organized by the community.
Flutter Vs. React Native: Testing and Automation Support
Flutter is feature-rich when it comes to testing. It provides testing features at three levels – widget, integration, and unit. It also offers comprehensive documentation on Flutter testing. The widget testing functionality allows you to test the user interface and run them at unit test speeds.
Flutter has a documented approach to automating apps. With its strong CLI, a binary of your app can be created using command-line tools and with the help of the documentation, releasing Android and iOS apps can be automated.
When it comes to automation, React Native does not provide any substantial documentation on automating the deployment of apps on their respective app stores. There are either a manual process or 3rd party tools again.
So, these were the pros and cons weighed in for both React Native and Flutter. It is up to you to decide what works for you and what doesn’t. Depending on the scale of your project and how soon you wish to make it live, React Native or Flutter could be your ideal platforms. Consider your internal goals and visions and go for the one that best meets your needs.